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Misty Copeland, Part Deux


Helene

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22 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

At the time I was unaware it was connected in any way with Copeland. But if it popped up as a suggestion for me, I could have appeared as a suggestion for her as well, or someone who knows her could have seen it.

If it was connected to Copeland before you were aware,  there is a good chance that it was suggested to you because of all of the traffic her post generated to it.  It is standard for algorithms to suggest posts that have been viewed and shared.  Social media platforms are only in the business of generating their own clicks if there is advertising money behind it.  It is cheaper and easier for them to let the online community generate its buzz, and then exploit that.

 

Edited to add to avoid the double-post:

16 minutes ago, Tapfan said:

So the controversy is only about the girls being bullied? Come on.  I'm not buying that.  With the ubiquity of American culture seeping into all corners of the world, Russians are pretending that they had no idea that blackface is repulsive.  And since when is something offensive based purely on intent? 

Also, there's proof the Copeland instructed her fans to hound the students?  And she should apologize for what her fans do?  In what universe?

 

The double-edge sword of being famous is that, despite your niche, when your fans deliver death threats and hive on a target, it's on you, and you are judged by your reactions.  You doesn't get a global pass when you're wrong.  If [pick a dancer that only their home city has heard of] or a WNBA All Star did the same thing, it might get a few mentions in the general press, just like an NFL bench player, but if you're [pick an NBA star, a Barca star, etc.], there is going to be a lot of press and inevitable debate and criticism, if your fans go there.

In figure skating, a group of rapid fans of YuNa Kim, called "Yunabots" delivered death threats and hive attacks on Adelina Solnitskaya, who beat Kim for the 2014 Olympic gold medal, after a long campaign of attacking Mao Asada, Kim's long-time rival.  Similarly, Evgenia Medvedeva has fans who've attacked Alina Zagitova, who beat Medvedeva for the 2018 Olympic gold medal.  I don't read Russian, but Russian-speaking friends have told me both were huge news in the Russian press, although, not surprisingly, both being Russian, Medvedeva has supporters in Russia that Kim doesn't.

Both Medvedeva and Kim were criticized harshly for never making a statement that this was unacceptable behavior.  In terms of an apology from Copeland, I think it would be appropriate for her to add that it was a mistake to post the social media handle of a ballet student, if she wanted to attack the Bolshoi Ballet.

If you are going to say that Russian ballet students should protest blackface, in my view, you need to protest against every student and dancer who has done a stereotypical Arabian or Chinese dance at the same time, ie, anything that isn't authentic folk dance.  

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On 1/14/2020 at 4:58 PM, On Pointe said:

This strikes me as villainizing Misty Copeland beyond all reason.

 

15 hours ago, On Pointe said:

If you still think that all of this is Misty Copeland's fault,  and everything would have been acceptable if she hadn't done anything,  nothing I post here will have any meaning to you,  but I am interested in knowing what you believe her punishment for being offended shouod be.

 

15 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

But it's a safe bet that Misty Copeland doesn't spend her days combing through Instagram images of Russian ballet students looking for someone to harass.  

As far as I can tell:

  • no one is calling Misty Copeland a villain;
  • no one is saying that everything is her fault;
  • no one is suggesting she should be punished;
  • no one is suggesting she is looking for someone to harass (or even that she harassed the young Russian dancer whose picture she reposted).

These are all attacks on straw people.

ETA these to the list:

Quote

So the controversy is only about the girls being bullied?...

Also, there's proof the Copeland instructed her fans to hound the students?  And she should apologize for what her fans do? ...

 

Edited by nanushka
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3 hours ago, nanushka said:

 

 

As far as I can tell:

  • no one is calling Misty Copeland a villain;
  • no one is saying that everything is her fault;
  • no one is suggesting she should be punished;
  • no one is suggesting she is looking for someone to harass (or even that she harassed the young Russian dancer whose picture she reposted).

These are all attacks on straw people.

Adding these to the list:

 

6 hours ago, FireDancer said:

How many people follow random students of the Bolshoi school?

Exactly.

I was the person who originally posted the link of the article that defended Copeland. I stated that I didn't see why pointing out that blackface is wrong was controversial.  Someone immediately stated that the reason the subject was controversial was because it led to bullying of teens. I'd say that's a pretty definitive statement that the controversy wasn't over the wrongness of blackface but the wrongness of supposedly picking on teens. 

The original issue was shoved aside to point to how horrible it was that some people picked on teens. 

Edited by Tapfan
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10 minutes ago, Tapfan said:

Someone immediately stated that the reason the subject was controversial was because it led to bullying of teens. I'd say that a pretty definitive statement that the controversy wasn't over the wrongness of blackface but the wrongness of supposedly picking on teens.

And it was Copeland who destroyed the impact of her original point by linking to the Instagram of students and not taking on the Bolshoi Ballet.  Had she not done so, her point about blackface would have been the discussion point.  Even if she never says a word publicly, she should be kicking herself for having ruined an opportunity to use her platform and for giving valid ammo to her critics.

It was gignormously dumb and counter-productive.

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On 1/14/2020 at 4:03 PM, Leah said:

Copeland sent her followers to her Instagram who posted death threats and messages to the girl to kill herself. I saw it before it was deleted and I highly doubt Russian teachers act that way. Copeland pointedly did not identify the Bolshoi or reply to anyone asking who it was. It’s cowardly to go after a student and not the company responsible.

Blackface is obviously terrible but Copeland’s behavior was pretty gross.

Copeland instructed her followers to harass teens? That's a pretty serious accusation. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Tapfan said:

The original issue was shoved aside to point to how horrible it was that some people picked on teens. 

I don't understand why it has to be an either/or.

The photo that Copeland posted is, in my opinion, disgustingly offensive.

But I do not think she should have included the girl's IG handle in her post, and I think she should have and could have thought about the reaction it would provoke. (I assume we've all heard stories about what can happen to people who get "picked on" by masses of strangers on social media.)

It is very possible to share both those beliefs. Misty Copeland doesn't deserve to be either vilified or defended at all costs, in my opinion.

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Just now, Tapfan said:

I'd say that a pretty definitive statement that the controversy wasn't over the wrongness of blackface but the wrongness of supposedly picking on teens. 

For me, it's about how, in my opinion, Misty handled it poorly for the many reasons I stated in my previous comments.

I agree that these costumes could be changed without negatively affecting the ballet. In fact, when the Mariinsky was in Berkeley, I enjoyed the D'Jampé girls performing in their Act I costumes with the Golden Idol more than the little kids. 

I hope the conversation can continue but the way it was started (this as well as the way Berkeley Ballet school refused to wear those costumes at the last minute last fall- what were the company going to do? Make new ones right then and there?) leads me to believe it may be some time before the Bolshoi and Mariinsky are open to even discussing change. I hope I'm wrong as it's an important conversation, but like all sensitive subjects, it needs to be broached  the right way... 

5 minutes ago, Helene said:

And it was Copeland who destroyed the impact of her original point by linking to the Instagram of students and not taking on the Bolshoi Ballet.  Had she not done so, her point about blackface would have been the discussion point.  Even if she never says a word publicly, she should be kicking herself for having ruined an opportunity to use her platform and for giving valid ammo to her critics.

It was gignormously dumb and counter-productive.

I so agree with all of this.

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5 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I don't understand why it has to be an either/or.

The photo that Copeland posted is, in my opinion, disgustingly offensive.

But I do not think she should have included the girl's IG handle in her post, and I think she should have and could have thought about the reaction it would provoke. (I assume we've all heard stories about what can happen to people who get "picked on" by masses of strangers on social media.)

It is very possible to share both those beliefs. Misty Copeland doesn't deserve to be either vilified or defended at all costs, in my opinion.

Agreed.

There was a suicide at the Bolshoi Academy last year- let's hope there's no repeat! 😢

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33 minutes ago, Helene said:

If it was connected to Copeland before you were aware,  there is a good chance that it was suggested to you because of all of the traffic her post generated to it.  It is standard for algorithms to suggest posts that have been viewed and shared.  Social media platforms are only in the business of generating their own clicks if there is advertising money behind it.  It is cheaper and easier for them to let the online community generate its buzz, and then exploit that.

 

Edited to add to avoid the double-post:

The double-edge sword of being famous is that, despite your niche, when your fans deliver death threats and hive on a target, it's on you, and you are judged by your reactions.  You doesn't get a global pass when you're wrong.  If [pick a dancer that only their home city has heard of] or a WNBA All Star did the same thing, it might get a few mentions in the general press, just like an NFL bench player, but if you're [pick an NBA star, a Barca star, etc.], there is going to be a lot of press and inevitable debate and criticism, if your fans go there.

In figure skating, a group of rapid fans of YuNa Kim, called "Yunabots" delivered death threats and hive attacks on Adelina Solnitskaya, who beat Kim for the 2014 Olympic gold medal, after a long campaign of attacking Mao Asada, Kim's long-time rival.  Similarly, Evgenia Medvedeva has fans who've attacked Alina Zagitova, who beat Medvedeva for the 2018 Olympic gold medal.  I don't read Russian, but Russian-speaking friends have told me both were huge news in the Russian press, although, not surprisingly, both being Russian, Medvedeva has supporters in Russia that Kim doesn't.

Both Medvedeva and Kim were criticized harshly for never making a statement that this was unacceptable behavior.  In terms of an apology from Copeland, I think it would be appropriate for her to add that it was a mistake to post the social media handle of a ballet student, if she wanted to attack the Bolshoi Ballet.

If you are going to say that Russian ballet students should protest blackface, in my view, you need to protest against every student and dancer who has done a stereotypical Arabian or Chinese dance at the same time, ie, anything that isn't authentic folk dance.  

I don't expect Russian students to protest blackface or yellowface. I do expect major ballet companies like the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky to know better and to do better. And as was stated in the linked article, the Bolshoi's excuse that it was tradition, was beyond lame. 

They responded as they did out of arrogance, like dare I say..... spoiled teens.  

Edited by Tapfan
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17 minutes ago, Tapfan said:

Copeland instructed her followers to harass teens?

Nope. Nor did the person you quoted say that she did.

6 minutes ago, Tapfan said:

I do expect major ballet companies like the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky to know better and to do better. And as was stated in the linked article, the Bolshoi's excuse that it was tradition, was beyond lame. 

They responded as they did out of arrogance...

I completely agree.

Edited by nanushka
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Nobody is disputing that the company management should be cognizant that blackface is offensive.  But the issue here is that Copeland was insensitive  and thoughtless in identifying the photo with the 14 year old girl's  Instagram account.  With fame comes responsibility.   She knows very well that  people on social media respond to all kinds of things in extreme  and inappropriate ways. For someone who claims to be supportive of the dreams of young girls, and who herself was subjected to a media circus in her youth, the way she went about making her very valid overall point was uncaring.

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8 minutes ago, FireDancer said:

Agreed.

There was a suicide at the Bolshoi Academy last year- let's hope there's no repeat! 😢

For heavens sake. If the Bolshoi is that much of a pressure cooker, they have major problems that have nothing to do with what Misty says or does. Also, the powers that be at the Bolshoi haven't missed a single opportunity to express how right they feel they are about their artistically vital blackface-loving tradition, so none of the girls are in trouble with management for Copeland's remarks.  

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49 minutes ago, Tapfan said:

And since when is something offensive based purely on intent? 

It is pretty easy to offend through ignorance actually.  Not knowing about local customs/superstitions can easily cause upset/embarrassment/anger, even mispronouncing a foreign word can get you into trouble.   Innocuous example: once gave a Russian friend twelve roses, was unaware even numbers of blooms in bouquets are unlucky, she was clearly upset.

I'm reading this thread with incredulity, cannot believe anyone would defend the harassment of innocent young girls.

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1 hour ago, Tapfan said:

I don't expect Russian students to protest blackface or yellowface. I do expect major ballet companies like the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky to know better and to do better. And as was stated in the linked article, the Bolshoi's excuse that it was tradition, was beyond lame. 

I completely agree.

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1 hour ago, Mashinka said:

Innocuous example: once gave a Russian friend twelve roses, was unaware even numbers of blooms in bouquets are unlucky, she was clearly upset.

It's not that they're unlucky, even numbers are used only for funerals. 

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2 hours ago, Mashinka said:

It is pretty easy to offend through ignorance actually.  Not knowing about local customs/superstitions can easily cause upset/embarrassment/anger, even mispronouncing a foreign word can get you into trouble.   Innocuous example: once gave a Russian friend twelve roses, was unaware even numbers of blooms in bouquets are unlucky, she was clearly upset.

I'm reading this thread with incredulity, cannot believe anyone would defend the harassment of innocent young girls.

Who defended the harassment of innocent girls?

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"However, imagine receiving a message from a famous dancer wanting to talk to you about your photo... I can only imagine they would have been thrilled!"

 When did Misty Copeland send such a message? 

4 hours ago, Helene said:

If you are going to say that Russian ballet students should protest blackface, in my view, you need to protest against every student and dancer who has done a stereotypical Arabian or Chinese dance at the same time, ie, anything that isn't authentic folk dance.  

The choreography is not a point of contention.  Are you equating performing steps with the image of a white person daubed in sooty makeup as a representation of a black person?  The Bolshoi could present Bayadere without blackface and without changing a step.  Interesting that although the ballet is set in India,  none of the principals ever perform in even slightly darker makeup.

Misty Copeland is allowed to have an emotional response to an image without  being responsible for the reaction of the various nutjobs who attack with the slightest provocation.  I don't believe that the over-the-top harassment was entirely forseeable.  Misty has said far harsher things about ballet institutions.  She's also not required to be the perfect spokesperson for racial issues.

Doesn't Instagram bear responsibility for images it allows on its platform?  If the Russians just couldn't imagine that the photo was offensive,  somebody at Instagram should have known better and taken it down with a warning.

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18 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

"However, imagine receiving a message from a famous dancer wanting to talk to you about your photo... I can only imagine they would have been thrilled!"

 When did Misty Copeland send such a message? 

She didn't. I'm pretty sure that was the point.

18 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Misty Copeland is allowed to have an emotional response to an image without  being responsible for the reaction of the various nutjobs who attack with the slightest provocation.  I don't believe that the over-the-top harassment was entirely forseeable.  Misty has said far harsher things about ballet institutions.  She's also not required to be the perfect spokesperson for racial issues.

Anyone with 1.8M Instagram followers who's been paying any attention over the past decade knows that when a celebrated person with such a mass following of passionate fans singles out an individual (not an institution) on social media for a racially (or politically, or in some other way) offensive act, that individual will be subject to pretty intense harassment. The examples are numerous, if not innumerable.

Of course she's not required to be a perfect spokesperson. But as a public figure she is not exempt from criticism, and she has a responsibility to use her very powerful public voice with care — and to acknowledge mistakes such as this one.

Edited by nanushka
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32 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Are you equating performing steps with the image of a white person daubed in sooty makeup as a representation of a black person? 

I'm equating yellow face with blackface.  It has nothing to do with steps.  It has to do with perpetuating ethnic and racial stereotypes in performance for "entertainment value," especially under that guise of national heritage.

32 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

don't believe that the over-the-top harassment was entirely forseeable.  Misty has said far harsher things about ballet institutions. 

And she said nothing about ballet institutions in this case.  Had she, the response likely would have been different.

Emotional responses beget predictable behavior on social media, including attack dog behavior.  I don't have a publicist or social media advisor, and am a relatively low-level user of social media, and I unfollow liberally, and even I would have predicted a swarm, if not to the point of death threats.

32 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

She's also not required to be the perfect spokesperson for racial issues.

She's not.  But when she makes a glaring error, she's not exempt from criticism.  Including that she had an important point that is now obscured.

And she's set herself up as a spokesperson to speak about racial issues in ballet in as much media as possible in a way that other black dancers have not, even when they have spoken about race, and with that comes responsibility.

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Hmm one thing about hive social media attacks though is that very often celebrities are advised to never comment about them, because any comment (even if it's "cut it out") is giving the stalkers the validation they want/crave. I know that for instance the Kensington Palace Instagram account simply deletes offensive comments about Meghan from their account. 

I'm not sure if Misty has the kind of following though that can truly be called a hive social media attack, so in her case I think a comment of "stop attacking ballet students, they're 14" is entirely appropriate.

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20 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Hmm one thing about hive social media attacks though is that very often celebrities are advised to never comment about them, because any comment (even if it's "cut it out") is giving the stalkers the validation they want/crave. I know that for instance the Kensington Palace Instagram account simply deletes offensive comments about Meghan from their account. 

I'm not sure if Misty has the kind of following though that can truly be called a hive social media attack, so in her case I think a comment of "stop attacking ballet students, they're 14" is entirely appropriate.

Yeah I don't think that analogy quite works because in this case it wouldn't be a recipient responding, nor to stalkers.

I agree that even a simple statement like that would be a good move.

Edited by nanushka
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1 hour ago, Helene said:

I'm equating yellow face with blackface.  It has nothing to do with steps.  It has to do with perpetuating ethnic and racial stereotypes in performance for "entertainment value," especially under that guise of national heritage.

I don't believe that blackface and yellow face are equivalent,  but I recognize that others disagree.

1 hour ago, Helene said:

And she said nothing about ballet institutions in this case.  Had she, the response likely would have been different.

But she did.  Misty said,  "this is the WORLD I live in".  She did not say anything about the girls.  I believe that a reasonable person would infer that she was making a comment about the institution of classical ballet,  not two young girls whose identity is completely obscured.

1 hour ago, Helene said:

And she's set herself up as a spokesperson to speak about racial issues in ballet in as much media as possible in a way that other black dancers have not, even when they have spoken about race, and with that comes responsibility.

Do people set themselves up as spokespersons,  or do leaders emerge?  When he was alive it was Arthur Mitchell.  Could be that,  considering the endless vitriol hurled at Misty,  other black dancers are reluctant to put themselves out more in the public eye.

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29 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Do people set themselves up as spokespersons,  or do leaders emerge? 

Yes, they sometimes do set themselves up by leveraging opportunities to be heard and visible, particularly when they make themselves available to the press to a great extent and have professional help in doing this.  I think that's a good thing that she has been able to use it to expose institutional and personal racism that she's experienced and witnessed and to be a model of the possibility. 

Not all black dancers have backed down because Copeland received such criticism and hate.  Michaela DePrince, for one.

Unless she has a private social media account that was exposed, anything she says in social media is part of the continuum.  It was an emotional outburst in which she made a blanket statement and tagged the handle of dance students, after which a set of her followers responded vilely.  She did not take on the institution in any specific and meaningful way: she did not mention the institution in her post.  And it is not a sudden thing that the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Ballets have their students use blackface in La Bayadere nor the first time that those students have posted photos of themselves on social media.  I'd be shocked, *shocked* if she was suddenly aware of this.

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